Since its inception, Facebook and its property Instagram have become addictive phenomena for millions of users worldwide. The popularity of the social media platforms has also made them very influential in elections. Hosts of users consume information (and a lot of times misinformation) concerning politics and political leaders pursuing office.
Seeing the influence it has on the democratic process, Facebook is conducting a study where it will pay users to stop using Facebook and Instagram for some weeks before the upcoming presidential election. The study is to measure social media’s impact on political attitudes and behaviors.
Facebook’s official announcement of the study reads:
“To continue to amplify all that is good for democracy on social media, and mitigate against that which is not, we need more objective, dispassionate, empirically grounded research. We need to better understand whether social media makes us more polarized as a society, or if it largely reflects the divisions that already exist; if it helps people to become better informed about politics, or less; or if it affects people’s attitudes towards government and democracy, including whether and how they vote.
That’s why today we are announcing a new research partnership to better understand the impact of Facebook and Instagram on key political attitudes and behaviors during the US 2020 elections, building on the initiative we launched in 2018. It will examine the impact of how people interact with our products, including content shared in News Feed and across Instagram, and the role of features like content ranking systems.”
According to reports, the 400,000 expected participants in the study will have to deactivate their Facebook and Instagram accounts later this month for one or six weeks. Before reactivating, they must fill out a survey to be paid upwards of $120 for their effort
Would you participate in this study?